Millicent Simmonds

Millicent "Millie" Simmonds (born (2003-03-06)March 6, 2003) is a deaf American teen actress who starred in the 2017 drama film Wonderstruck and the 2018 horror film A Quiet Place. For both films, she was nominated for several awards for best youth performance. In television, she appeared in Andi Mack in 2018 and in This Close in 2019. She appeared in A Quiet Place Part II, which had a world premiere in March 2020 and is scheduled to be commercially released in September 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Millicent Simmonds
Actress Millicent Simmonds at Cannes for premiere of her 2017 film Wonderstruck
Simmonds at Cannes in 2017
Born (2003-03-06) March 6, 2003 (age 18)[1]
Utah, United States
OccupationActress
Years active2017–present

BackgroundEdit

Simmonds is a native of the US state of Utah.[2] She lives in Bountiful, Utah.[3] She has four siblings; two older and two younger than her.[4] Prior to turning 12 months old, Simmonds lost her hearing due to a medication overdose.[5] Her mother learned American Sign Language and taught the family so they could communicate with her.[6] Simmonds said without her family using ASL, "I wouldn't have a relationship with my own family, I wouldn't have communication."[7]

Simmonds's mother also encouraged her to read books extensively.[8] When Simmonds was three years old, she started attending the Jean Massieu School of the Deaf, where she participated in its drama club.[3] Her first play was in A Midsummer Night's Dream as Puck.[8] After completing sixth grade, she mainstreamed at the Mueller Park Junior High School in the fall of 2015. She has performed at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah, and her primary film experience before Wonderstruck was a deaf student's short, "Color the World".[3] Simmonds has a cochlear implant.[9] With it, she listens to Father John Misty and Red Hot Chili Peppers.[10] Her favorite film to date is The Truman Show (1998).[11]

As of 2021, she is based in the US state of Pennsylvania.[7]

CareerEdit

Wonderstruck and A Quiet PlaceEdit

Simmonds was 12 years old when she first acted in the 2017 film Wonderstruck.[8] She had read the deaf-themed juvenile novel Wonderstruck when it was published in 2011. When open casting for the film began, her former drama teacher shared the news with her, and she auditioned for a role in the film.[3] She competed with over 250 others. When she won the role, she moved to New York City with her mother and her younger siblings to film Wonderstruck. She used American Sign Language interpreters to communicate on set and also received a tutor to continue schoolwork while filming.[3] Vanity Fair's Charles Bramesco said of her casting, "A Utah native without any major film credits to her name, young Simmonds is expected to make quite a splash both as a new face in the industry as well as an icon for deaf and otherwise sensory-disabled actors."[12] When Wonderstruck premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, the Associated Press's Jake Coyle said Simmonds's screen debut was "hailed as a breakthrough".[13] Simmonds was subsequently nominated for several awards for best youth performance (see accolades). The Associated Press also recognized Simmonds as one of eight actors who were Breakthrough Entertainers of 2017.[14]

In 2018, Simmonds starred in the horror film A Quiet Place as the deaf daughter of a hearing couple, played by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. While the producers did not specifically plan to cast a deaf actress to play the deaf daughter, Krasinski, who was also the director, pushed to have a deaf actress.[15] Simmonds and her family answered Krasinski's questions for writing a screenplay about a family with a deaf child.[16] The filmmakers hired an ASL interpreter for Simmonds, so that signed and spoken language could be interpreted fluently on set.[17] Simmonds helped teach her fellow actors to sign.[18]

TV roles and return to A Quiet PlaceEdit

In 2018, Simmonds appeared in a two-episode arc in the third season of the Disney Channel television series Andi Mack. She had first appeared as an extra in the first season, and the series creators invited her back for a recurring role. For her arc, Simmonds taught the other actors how to use ASL, and the showrunners decided to show her scenes involving ASL without providing subtitles so viewers could focus on figuring out the sign language.[11] In one of the episodes, Simmonds also spoke for the first time ever on-camera, responding audibly "I like you" in response to Asher Angel's character Jonah signing "I like you" to her character. Simmonds said of the spoken dialogue, "I can't even remember how it was brought up or who had the idea, but I remember my mom asking me how I felt about it, and I told her I thought I could try. I was actually pretty nervous about it. I don't use my voice a lot in public."[19]

In the following year, Simmonds appeared in an episode of the second season of This Close.[20] In October, Simmonds was cast in a lead role in the pilot for the TV series Close Up on Freeform,[21] and production took place later in the year in Vancouver. By May 2020, Freeform passed on the pilot.[22]

Simmonds also reprised her role in the sequel film A Quiet Place Part II, which filmed in the middle of 2019.[23] John Krasinski, who also directed the sequel, said, "I had this small idea, which was to make Millie [Simmonds] the lead of the movie... her character opens the door to all the themes I was dealing with in the first movie."[24] The film had its world premiere in March 2020,[25] but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its commercial release was postponed to September 2021.[26]

Deaf advocacyEdit

Following Simmonds's 2017 debut in Wonderstruck, KSL.com's Liesl Nielsen reported, "Millie plans to continue both acting and advocating for the deaf community."[27] In 2019, after starring in A Quiet Place, Simmonds received the Greenwich International Film Festival's Make An Impact Award and participated on the festival's panel to discuss cinematic representation of people with disabilities.[28]

In 2020, with the commercial release of A Quiet Place Part II being postponed to the following year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,[29] Simmonds and a speech-language pathology clinical fellow designed a face mask that includes a transparent panel to allow lip-reading and facial expressions to be seen. Simmonds partnered with fair-trade fashion brand Rafi Nova to make the masks and to have net proceeds go to deaf and hard-of-hearing organizations.[30] She also participated on a virtual panel hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences about representation of creative figures with disabilities, as part of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.[31] Toward the end of the year, the teenage magazine Seventeen recognized Simmonds among 15 recipients of Voices of the Year 2020 for their vision and activism.[32]

With deaf characters historically played by hearing actors, or sign language obscured by the editing process, Simmonds considers her films Wonderstruck, A Quiet Place, and A Quiet Place Part II as "a corrective" to that history.[7]

CreditsEdit

Simmonds's credits
Year(s) Title Medium Role Notes Ref.
2017 Wonderstruck Film Rose [33]
2018 A Quiet Place Film Regan Abbott [33]
2018–2019 Andi Mack (2017–2019) Television Libby Season 3; two-episode arc [11]
2019 "Wanted a Name" Music video Self Music video by Frenship [34]
2019 This Close (2018–2019) Television Emmaline Season 2; Episode: "No Place Like Home" [35]
2020 A Quiet Place Part II Film Regan Abbott Commercial release in 2021 [36]

AccoladesEdit

Simmonds's accolades
Year Film Award Ceremony Result Ref.
2017 Wonderstruck Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer 23rd ceremony Nominated [37]
Florida Film Critics Circle's Pauline Kael Breakout Award 2017 ceremony Nominated [38]
Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor 44th ceremony Nominated [39]
Seattle Film Critics Society Award for Best Youth Performance 2017 ceremony Nominated [40]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Youth Performance 2017 ceremony Nominated [41]
Women Film Critics Circle Award for Best Young Actress 2017 ceremony Nominated [42]
2018 A Quiet Place Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer 24th ceremony Nominated [43]
Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by an Actress 23 and Under 2nd ceremony Nominated [44]
Seattle Film Critics Society Award for Best Youth Performance 2018 ceremony Nominated [45]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Youth Performance 2018 ceremony Nominated [46]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Rose, Mike (March 6, 2018). "Today's top celebrity birthdays list (March 6, 2018)". Cleveland.com. Retrieved January 2, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (April 21, 2016). "Deaf Performer Millicent Simmonds To Co-Star In Todd Haynes' 'Wonderstruck'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 5, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e Crofts, Natalie (April 15, 2016). "Bountiful girl cast in lead role for upcoming movie 'Wonderstruck'". ksl.com. KSL-TV. Retrieved May 5, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Votaw, Ann (April 10, 2018). "Millicent Simmonds on How the Plot of 'A Quiet Place' Relates to Real Life". Observer. Retrieved April 12, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Cragun, Nathaniel (March 4, 2016). "Deaf filmmaker's latest work advocates greater cause". The Signpost. Weber State University. Retrieved May 5, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Harris, Sarah (November 6, 2017). "Young Utah 'Wonderstruck' actress speaks of 'frustration' that deaf people feel". Deseret News. Retrieved November 7, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b c Nevins, Jake (March 25, 2021). "American Sign Language Finds Its Spotlight". T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Retrieved March 25, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b c Williams, Michelle (February 5, 2020). "Millicent Simmonds Is a Force to Be Reckoned With". Teen Vogue. Retrieved February 5, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Weiss, Haley (November 1, 2017). "Deaf actress Millicent Simmonds has a message for those who are different". Interview. Retrieved November 1, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Mezikofsky, Chaya (2018). "A Game-Changing Talent". Variety. Retrieved November 13, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ a b c Ceron, Ella (December 4, 2018). "Millicent Simmonds Saved the Day in A Quiet Place — Now She's Headed to the Disney Channel". Teen Vogue. Retrieved December 5, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Bramesco, Charles (April 30, 2016). "Carol Director Todd Haynes Breaks New Ground in Casting His Next Film". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 5, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Coyle, Jake (May 18, 2017). "'Wonderstruck', with deaf newcomer Simmonds, lands at Cannes". ap.org. Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 20, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ Staff (December 12, 2017). "The AP names its Breakthrough Entertainers of 2017". ap.org. Associated Press. Retrieved December 13, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Burton, Bryan (April 7, 2018). "John Krasinski Pushed to Cast a Deaf Actress for 'A Quiet Place'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 11, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ Sippell, Margeaux (December 9, 2018). "John Krasinski on 'A Quiet Place': Casting A Deaf Actress Was 'Non-Negotiable'". Variety. Retrieved December 10, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ Crow, David (April 2, 2018). "A Quiet Place and the Thrill of Making an Original Horror Movie". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved April 6, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ Squires, John (March 14, 2018). "John Krasinski on the Importance of Casting Deaf Actress Millicent Simmonds in 'A Quiet Place'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved April 6, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ Gunderson, Alexis (February 1, 2019). "How Andi Mack Landed A Quiet Place Breakout Millicent Simmonds' First Time Speaking on Camera". Paste. Retrieved February 2, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ Lambe, Stacy (August 12, 2019). "'This Close' Returns With Season 2: Watch Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman in an Exclusive New Teaser". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved December 3, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (October 3, 2019). "'A Quiet Place' Actress Millicent Simmonds Set To Star In 'Close Up' Pilot At Freeform". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 3, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 14, 2020). "'Close Up' Mystery Drama Not Moving Forward At Freeform". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 7, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ Collis, Clark (July 15, 2019). "John Krasinski announces A Quiet Place 2 has started shooting". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on October 16, 2019. Retrieved October 4, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (March 9, 2020). "How John Krasinski Convinced Emily Blunt to Star in 'A Quiet Place 2'". Variety. Retrieved March 10, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ Martin, Annie (March 9, 2020). "John Krasinski praises Emily Blunt at 'A Quiet Place 2' premiere". United Press International. Retrieved March 9, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  26. ^ Sharf, Zack (January 23, 2021). "'Quiet Place 2' Pushed from April to September in Latest Delay for Paramount Horror Sequel". IndieWire. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
  27. ^ Nielsen, Liesl (May 11, 2017). "Deaf Bountiful girl films lead role in upcoming movie 'Wonderstruck'". ksl.com. KSL-TV. Retrieved May 12, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  28. ^ Zilko, Christian (June 3, 2019). "The Diversity Movement You're Not Hearing About: Actors With Disabilities — Watch". IndieWire. Retrieved June 7, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  29. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (July 23, 2020). "'A Quiet Place 2,' 'Top Gun: Maverick' Delayed Until 2021". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  30. ^ Smith, Nigel (August 4, 2020). "A Quiet Place's Millicent Simmonds Designs Transparent Masks That Restore Visual Communication". People. Retrieved August 4, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  31. ^ Bahr, Lindsey (October 27, 2020). "Entertainers Discuss Disability Representation In Hollywood". Associated Press. Retrieved October 28, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  32. ^ Staff (December 1, 2020). "Today's Teens Are Saving Tomorrow: Seventeen's 2020 Voices Of the Year". Seventeen. Retrieved December 3, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  33. ^ a b "Millicent Simmonds". bfi.org.uk. British Film Institute. Retrieved February 25, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  34. ^ Stivale, Shelly (February 15, 2019). "Up and Coming Actress Millicent Simmonds Stars In FRENSHIP's 'Wanted A Name' Music Video". Tiger Beat. Retrieved February 25, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  35. ^ Staff (October 15, 2018). "Sundance Now's THIS CLOSE Unveils Season Two Guest Star Lineup". Broadway World. Retrieved October 16, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  36. ^ Ames, Jeff (June 20, 2019). "A Quiet Place 2 Sneaks Into Production". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved July 5, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  37. ^ Hammond, Pete (December 6, 2017). "Critics' Choice Awards Nominations: 'The Shape Of Water' Leads With 14; Netflix Tops TV Contenders". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 13, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  38. ^ "2017 FFCC Winners". floridafilmcritics.com. Florida Film Critics Circle. December 23, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  39. ^ McNary, Dave (March 15, 2018). "'Black Panther,' 'Walking Dead' Rule Saturn Awards Nominations". Variety. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  40. ^ "'Blade Runner 2049' Leads the 2017 Seattle Film Critics Society Nominations". seattlefilmcritics.com. Seattle Film Critics Society. December 11, 2017. Retrieved December 18, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  41. ^ "'Get Out' Is In with D.C. Film Critics". wafca.com. Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 18, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  42. ^ Benardello, Karen (December 23, 2017). "The Women Film Critics Circle Awards 2017's Best Movies". Shock Ya!. Retrieved March 28, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  43. ^ Staff (January 13, 2019). "Critics' Choice Awards winners: See who won big in 2019". 6abc.com. WPVI-TV. Retrieved January 31, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  44. ^ "Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society Award Winners Announced!". laofcs.org. Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society. December 7, 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  45. ^ "'Roma' Named Best Picture of 2018 by Seattle Film Critics Society". seattlefilmcritics.com. Seattle Film Critics Society. December 17, 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  46. ^ "'Roma' Feels the Love with D.C. Film Critics". dcfilmcritics.com. Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. December 3, 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit